Buses are rolling so be extra careful out there

By TIM BEELAND,

Finally the bells of summer have tolled and school is back in session. I told my school teacher wife early Monday morning before she left the house headed to Conehatta Elementary School, that I felt a bit melancholy.

“Why,” she asked. “Well,” I answered, “because now we can’t go and do as we please.” Her response to that, “you never could go and do as you please, anyway.”

Hmmm, she got me on that one.

Times have changed so much since that big yellow school bus rolled around the circle and our little munchkin of a daughter climbed up the steps, all proud and pretty, on her way to kindergarten.

Her mother and I watched and waved as the bus rolled out of sight, baby child aboard. It was kind of sad. One of those sad/glad things where you’re proud and a little uneasy at the same time.

Kindergarten turned to first grade, to second, third, fourth and fifth, and then on to middle school, high school, college and graduate school. Now we all work. Work, come home, go to work. Certainly no “do as we please.”

Back in those days, we chased buses, caught buses, missed buses, and cussed buses all in our faithful effort not to be late for school. My daughter, bless her heart, could never bare to be late for school. Too embarrassing, much too embarrassing for my girl!

In later years I warmed up her car for her in the winter and made trip, after trip, after trip to the  schools for this, and for that, and for the other.

Sometimes I  long for those good ole days. The hectic schedules, the Friday night football games, the Saturday dance competitions, science fairs and project boards and all that crazy stuff cluttering up the kitchen counter. I think, most of the time, though, it’s just a longing for the little girl. Perhaps sooner, or maybe later, I will get over it.

I doubt that, though, since our lives are well documented on my office bookshelves with photos from that first day of kindergarten — that first, first day of school — through the “last first day” of her senior year. Field trips, proms, beauty pageants, and not one, not two, but three college graduations, are all up there, and when I glance upon them fond memories come flooding back.

There is just something about those buses rolling and the classes beginning that gets me all bumfuzzled again. So, as I sit here dabbling on the edge of pitifulness, I’ll take the opportunity to remind you all, as I always have, that  there are a bunch more of the kiddos out there this week. Kids on the street sides waiting on buses. Kids in cars hauling more kids in their cars to school with them. Teachers and parents and more kids and kids and kids.

Keep an eye out for them all. You never know when one might dash out from behind a hedge row to jump on the bus, or dash off the bus and jump behind a tree.

Some will be late and in a big hurry on a rain-dampened roadway. Some of them might be first-time drivers strutting their stuff a little, and some of them might be stressed-out parents trying their best to drop off everyone at all the right places at just the right times.

Remember that those buses are carrying our most precious cargo and you are required by law to stop for them when they stop. For car riders, the drop off lines are going to be long and moving slow, get used to it, that’s just the way it is going to be.

Please do be careful out there. Be careful out there all the time, but especially these first couple of weeks of school while everyone is trying to get back into their routine.

And for you seniors, and parents of seniors, enjoy the year. Come this time next year, you parents will be looking at your spouses on the first day of school and thinking out loud, “this is a little bit melancholy!”

You will, I promise you will!